August 21, 2018 3:20:29 am
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Monday announced that the first phase of the rescue mission was over and said the next phase would look into intensifying relief and rehabilitation. He, however, added that rescue efforts would remain active and anyone in need would be served. Defence forces too started scaling down their operation codenamed “Madad’’.
As flight operations at Cochin International Airport remain suspended, small-sized passenger aircraft began services from the naval base in Kochi. Rail and road traffic has been restored across Kerala, although a few long-distance trains remained suspended.
The number of people in relief camps went up from 9 lakh on Sunday to 12 lakh. The death toll from August 8 rose to 214 after seven bodies were recovered from flood-ravaged and landslide-hit areas. Thirty-two people are still missing.
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In a press meet, Vijayan said that on August 17, over 82,000 people had been rescued and on Monday, this had come down to just over 600.
The number of diving teams deployed was reduced to 51. No requests for air rescue were received; however, naval aircraft conducted 35 air sorties amounting to 62 hours of flying mainly for air dropping relief material.
Vijayan said that despite water receding from many areas, houses remained uninhabitable preventing the return of many rescued families. Rehabilitation measures would be intensified, said the chief minister.
Pathanamthitta collector P B Nooh said that rescue mission was over in his district.
“There are adequate provisions to ensure supply to relief camps. Food and provisions would be given to families which are staying in the flooded houses,” he said. Ernakulam collector Muhammed Y Safeerulla said all stranded were rescued in the district.
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